So you’ve booked your trip to the French capital, and rented a fabulous holiday apartment from Paris Perfect. But what to pack for Paris in the spring? Deciding on the perfect capsule wardrobe to cope with all eventualities is a tricky travel dilemma. You want to pack right, but also pack light. When it comes to what to pack for Paris in the spring, here are our five top tips. Happy packing!
1. Weather-proof wardrobe
Bear in mind the French proverb, “En avril, ne te découvre pas d’un fil”. It translates as “In April, don’t remove a thread” (of clothing), meaning the warm weather is not to be trusted. Not every day in Paris will be blue skies and sunshine (see our handy weather guide). Spring can bring showers and chillier spells, so a small portable/fold-up umbrella is a must. A stylish, compact raincoat is also a savvy lifesaver. High-street fashion brands do a smart line in trench coats, so no need to hit the camping stores! Alternatively, a short coat or padded jacket will keep you snug. A hat, scarf and leather gloves are always an alluring addition to any outfit, and fit easily in your luggage. May’s warmer, dryer weather tends to be more reliable. Hence the saying, “En mai, fais ce qu’il te plait”, or “In May, do what pleases you”.
2. Fashion statement
It’s hard to compete with Parisians on the fashion front, given their justified reputation for everyday elegance and soigné style…bonjour Carine Roitfeld and Lou Doillon! When deciding what to pack for Paris in the spring, though, you’ll never go wrong bringing an LBD. The little black dress is always a winner, whether lunching with friends or enjoying a show come evening. Select simple, neutral, flexible pieces that will take you from daytime shopping to nocturnal dining, and roll them to avoid creases. Think dark jeans, a crisp white shirt, black jacket and light cashmere sweater, with fabrics that won’t crumple. Guys, that sweater draped around the shoulders will tick the Paris box. Think classic linen separates and layers to cope with the season’s changeable weather. Children in Paris are always well dressed too, so don’t forget to pack a few coordinating items for the kids. Alternatively, shop for their outfits at refined French children’s label Bonpoint on arrival.
3. Shoes solution
Casual style-sneakers are fine for walking round Parisian neighborhoods. Running shoes are fine for jogging in the parks. Pack something smarter, though, for upscale shops, bars and restaurants. Parisians love a killer heel, but if the idea of staggering around on stilts doesn’t appeal then get creative. Gals, bring retro sneakers, flats or ballet flats for a dash of Audrey Hepburn chic. A pair of low-heeled boots or ankle boots will be comfy for wetter weather. When debating what to pack for Paris in the spring, consider a small tote for carrying a spare pair of shoes around. Guys, Paris is loafer country, so don’t be afraid to don a slip-on shoe. Also, retro sneakers are widely worn. The fashion scene is fairly formal and conservative, and stylish men love a fine dress shoe, even with jeans. Better still, why not shop for shoes in one of the world’s most fashionable cities? Louboutins aside, remember to bring the basics such as an international plug adapter so your gadgets will work in France.
4. Accessorize with attitude
Clothes and shoes may get top billing, but make space in your bag for a few carefully chosen accessories. An eye-catching handbag, clutch purse, neck scarf, belt, statement jewelry, watch or designer sunglasses will really make your look sing. Just leave the track pants and Fitbit at home (Parisians don’t do workout clothes outside of the gym!). A just-so accessory helps you blend in with the locals, adding instant Parisian glamour. It can also elevate a less-is-more outfit (whether jeans and a jacket or an LBD). So French, so chic!
5. Bags of style
Whether you bring a suitcase or pull-along bag, you’ll never regret including an additional tote. With so much sublime shopping on offer in Paris, a spare bag is vital for stashing your treasured buys. Choose one that packs small but expands to a generous size or opt for a squashy shoulder bag. Really going to town in the boutiques? Then take an extra empty suitcase, the ideal solution to what to pack for Paris in the spring.
For retail inspiration, see our online guide to the best shopping in Paris, including our favorite shopping streets. Paris Perfect also has gorgeous apartments near the best shopping areas. Chic Ladoix in the 1st arrondissement sleeps two and is handy for shopping in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Rue Saint-Honoré or Les Halles. Elegant Vézelay sleeps four in Saint-Germain-des-Prés near high-end department store Le Bon Marché and gourmet La Grande Épicerie de Paris. Boutique-lined Rue du Bac is just a stroll away, known for contemporary interiors stores and antiques. If you love shopping in the Marais, book into two-bedroom Jurançon, a seductive stay close to creative concept store Merci.
Style-seekers can join our three-hour Personal Shopping Tour in Paris, exploring Le Marais or Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Visit the best fashion stores on a half- or full-day personalized Classic Paris Shopping Tour. Add pampering extras on the luxe VIP Shopping Tour, calling in at famous French fashion houses. Vintage fashion and interiors fans will love the two- or four-hour Paris Flea Market Tour, guiding you around Porte de Clignancourt. We can help you solve those what-to-pack-for-Paris-in-the-Spring headaches. But remember that wonderful cabinet might not fit into your globetrotter suitcase on the way home!
For your next stay in Paris, our friendly reservations team are on hand to help you select one of our stunning family vacation rentals. We can also help with shopping, itineraries, tours, dining reservations, and customized private experiences! Email us today for more information.